Some 198 US citizens representing the Bangladeshi diaspora have expressed deep concern at the statement issued by some prominent figures, including former US President Barack Obama, on the ongoing trial of Nobel laureate Dr Muhammad Yunus.
They came up with the concern in a statement issued on Wednesday.
They said they firmly believe that the statement in favour of Dr Yunus has been given without a thorough understanding of the facts, and in that process, signatories of the open letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh brazenly attacked the sovereignty of the country that gained its independence through the sacrifice of three million martyrs.
"Nobel laureate Dr Yunus has been charged with money laundering, tax evasion, labor rights abuse by the independent Anti-Corruption Commission(ACC) in Bangladesh,” it says. They said the case is under trial and no verdict has been reached yet. "It is unfortunate that the signatories to the statement have drawn their conclusion without going through the merit of the case, while many of them advocate for rule of law and due process in the administration of justice. We, the undersigned, have been observing Dr. Yunus’ malpractice for many years. We also are well aware of Dr. Yunus’s art of deceit in public relations. However, we, as US citizens, never complained about it. We have reasons to believe the signatories of the open letter fell prey to Dr Yunus’ deceit,” the statement adds.
They said it is truly unfortunate to note that signatories of the letter did not stop by just urging a ‘fair trial’ for Dr. Yunus, but have also indulged into election processes, rule of law and many other issues not related to the case in point.
“It is quite evident that the signatories unnecessarily tarnished their reputation by indulging into internal issues of a sovereign country that we so proudly call our motherland. Their call for a trial under ‘impartial judges’ completely undermined the entire judicial system and is an attack on the dignity of the honorable judges of a sovereign nation,” the Bangladeshi Americans write.
“In terms of development, democracy and human rights in Bangladesh, it is far better now than what it was 15 or 20 years ago. Its success in development, its quest to uplift the living conditions of the tens of millions of marginalized citizens and particularly on the issue of women empowerment, Bangladesh is a role model under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina. It is recognized around the world, and more specifically by the developed west. We urge the signatories to retract their statement, either in a group or individually, to show respect to the 170 million Bangladeshis,” the statement reads.
"We respectfully ask that you immediately suspend the current judicial proceedings against Prof Yunus, followed by a review of the charges by a panel of impartial judges drawn from within your nation, with some role for internationally recognised legal experts. We are confident that any thorough review of the anti-corruption and labour law cases against him will result in his acquittal,” the letter addressed to PM Hasina reads.